How can donors and grantees work together to create effective monitoring, evaluation, and learning (MEL) practices that drive field-wide transformation?
Megan Colnar is a recognized expert and thought leader in evaluation, impact measurement and management, learning, and strategy for complex, dynamic social change efforts. As the owner and principal of Revolution Impact—an agency that guides social change leaders, organizations, funders, and investors to maximize their social impact—she supports social change actors to be as resilient and impactful as possible, and as a fierce champion of equity and inclusion, assists in applying these lenses to social change work. She has applied these skills and gained expertise working in over 50 countries across six continents including at the Open Society Foundations, Transparency and Accountability Initiative, The Hunger Project, and the United Nations. She holds a Master’s in Public Administration from the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University and a BA in International Studies and Latin American Studies from Rhodes College. In 2008, Colnar was awarded a prestigious Thomas J. Watson Fellowship to pursue independent research on nonviolence and reconciliation movements in six countries across four continents.
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A new pathway: how can funders support meaningful monitoring, evaluation, and learning practice in the field?
- This brief shares insights from the efforts of The Economic Justice Program (EJP) of the Open Society Foundations' Strategy & Impact Unit to develop a focused, principles‑driven approach to monitoring and evaluation.
- This resource, part of the MEL Toolkit for Grantmakers and Grantees, provides a simple discussion/interview guide to assess grantee capacity across several components of MEL.
- This guide provides a set of recommended steps for defining, refining, and integrating milestones while developing a theory of change.
- This resource is a theory of change example that was developed for an anti-corruption portfolio (2016–21); it includes standard theory-of-change components, such as outcomes and activities, as well as elements more specific to OSF’s longer-
- This sub-strategy from the Economic Justice Program explicitly outlines the purpose of MEL within the program, along with specific goals and guiding principles.
- This resource is the form used by Open Society Foundations’ Economic Justice Program team to evaluate potential vendors to design and implement a new data platform for MEL.
- This resource is a portfolio close-out note that was originally developed for colleagues internally at OSF: It provides an overview of the portfolio (its aims, structure, and scope) along with reflections on key achievements and lessons lea
- This tool is a presentation that the Open Society Foundations’ Economic Justice Program MEL team delivered to program colleagues to get them more familiar with MEL and suggest practical steps for considering it in their work.
- This resource is a compilation of three separate terms of references to support different components of evaluations of Open Society Foundations’ Economic Justice Program.
- This resource is the framework that the MEL team in the Open Society Foundations’ Economic Justice Program developed to compile, categorize, and make sense of a range of different indicators across the program’s grant-making portfolio.
- This resource is the template that the Economic Justice Program MEL team developed for the portfolio learning agendas of EJP's inaugural strategy.
- The MEL team in the Open Society Foundations’ Economic Justice Program created a special fund to support structured learning and collaboration between its existing grantees.
- This resource outlines the menu of reporting options developed as an approach to reporting that was more flexible and clearer for grantees and provided more insights to program officers.
- These agendas, for grantee “MEL jamborees”, provide a detailed view of not only how an actionable learning event for MEL could be structured but also offer an insight into the interests, challenges, and opportunities facing grantees when it